Welcome Marion Scrymgour!

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[image source: SMH]

It’s been a busy few weeks for under-represented groups in Australian politics, hasn’t it?

My respect to Marion Scrymgour, who today became the first Indigenous Australian to lead a government. She is acting Chief Minister of the NT while Paul Henderson is on holiday.

News.com.au reports:

Ms Scrymgour said the first indigenous head of government had been a long time coming.

“But rather than reflect on that, I just want to get on with the job,” she said. “I feel very privileged and my family is very proud.”

Scrymgour, Darwin-born of a Tiwi Islander mother and stolen-generation father, was also the first indigenous woman to become a minister of an Australian government. You can read her Charles Perkins Oration on the NT invasion in a previous post. This was the oration in which she upset some of the powers-that-were with her passion and intensity.

I also like this snippet from a 2004 episode of George Negus Tonight:

MARION SCRYMGOUR: We’ve had some great male representatives. I mean, there’s been Indigenous men that have gone into parliament. But there’s never been a woman. And it was getting the voice and the views of women at the highest level in government.

WOMAN: We’ve got Marion. She’s our voice and, you know… We know we’ve got someone up there now, someone that we know and we can talk to openly instead of being shied back and pulled back. ‘Cause she’s one of us. We are Indigenous people. And we’re really proud of her. We are.

MARION SCRYMGOUR: And I’m proud of you mob.

WOMEN: Yeah. (Laugh)

MARION SCRYMGOUR: I’ve got to say things that reflect what they want, not what I want, which is going to impact on them because they’re the ones that have got to live with it every day. When you’re in parliament, and all the comments that get said about Aboriginal people, you know… When you come out here, the reality and, you know, the people, it makes the fight all worthwhile. Sometimes the solution can be so simple as to the community having control. What’s been there in the past is that sometimes people are so hesitant and so scared that, you know, “Ooh, you can’t give blackfellas control.” If you allow that control, you actually get the outcomes that not only benefit the community, but also benefit government.

When I stop having the… the burning in my stomach and the passion, I’ll give it away. That’s when I’ll walk away. I’m not going to, as one individual, eliminate poverty. But if I can have some input at the highest level of government, whether it be via legislation or just by policy and programs that’s going to make a difference, I’ll be happy. And that’s the passion that keeps driving me – that we can do better.



Categories: gender & feminism, indigenous, Politics

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5 replies

  1. I don’t feel entirely comfortable, being the first to comment and not being Australian (only a student who feels lucky to have had the chance to take at least one course in Australian lit), but: all the best to Australia and Ms. Scrymgour in 2008!
    Januaries’s last blog post..?good fences make good neighbors?

  2. I was really surprised – but completely stoked – when Scrymgour got made Deputy Chief Minister when Martin quit. She’s been a strong, outspoken advocate for indigenous rights ever since she got elected, and she’s avoided toeing the party line on several crucial issues. Anyway, she couldn’t be a better example to set as the first indigenous person to lead a government – I just hope she doesn’t tone down now that she’s in a more high-profile position.
    Rebecca’s last blog post..Jessica Valenti still doesn?t get it

  3. What a wonderful good news story.
    Guy’s last blog post..Resynchronising motoring regulations with motoring reality

  4. Why hasn’t this been reported in the MSM?

  5. Ha! She only got there because she totally deserves it! You should see her in action. Thank goodness we have some sharp thinking members representing us. No wonder the opposition wanted to see her fired for her recent act of conscience.
    Marion Scrymgour is a great threat to the credibility of her political opponents.
    David’s last blog post..Cyclone Helen

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